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Serie A
By ESPN Staff

Ballack admits doubts over Germany's chances

BERLIN, June 7 (Reuters) - Germany are heading into the World Cup with an inexperienced, less-than-stable team whose success is far from certain, captain Michael Ballack said in a newspaper interview.

'We have players that have been on the pitch only sporadically with their club teams. We don't have the choice of players we had in the 1990 World Cup or in the 1996 European Championship,' Ballack told German daily Handelsblatt.

'As a result the team makes mistakes and is not fixed. For that reason I think there is a little uncertainty as we head into the tournament,' he added.

'The results and performance in the run-up to the World Cup show that this team is not so stable.'

Germany face Costa Rica on Friday in Munich in the opening match of the month-long tournament. Costa Rica have been dreadful in warm-up matches but the German team's results have also been mixed.

They beat Colombia 3-0 on Friday in their last World Cup warm-up match but struggled to secure a draw against Japan last week and were thrashed 4-1 by Italy back in March.

Ballack, who is suffering from a calf strain that prevented him from training on Tuesday, said the team needed to be careful about moving forwards too quickly and leaving itself exposed defensively.

'We need to be clear that we can't all have an offensive mindset,' Ballack said, noting that he found it hard to find the right balance between attack and defence.

Germany also play Poland and Ecuador in Group A.